Reviewing The Best Bitcoin Lightning Wallets For Slow-Internet Regions
Up until now, I recommended using Blue Wallet on the BFF Bitcoin flyer, mainly because of its ease of usage and the possibility to have a Bitcoin and Lightning wallet in one app. I was conscious of the disadvantage, the custodial Lightning wallet, however I thought that non-custodial Lightning node wallets like Breez or Phoenix would not work reliably in areas with bad or sluggish web connectivity.Goal: Identifying A Non-Custodial Lightning Wallet That Works In Areas With Low Internet SpeedI have been asking myself over the last couple of months if it wouldnt be much better to recommend a non-custodial Lightning wallet. There you can see inbound funds and likewise send them.MuunThe Muun wallet is an extremely easy to use, non-custodial Bitcoin wallet, which is often promoted as a Lightning wallet even though all your coins are saved on chain. Unlike Blue Wallet, where Lightning and on-chain Bitcoin are represented as two wallets with two balances, Muun wallet reveals one balance. I do not see any factor any longer to advise a closed-source, custodial wallet like Wallet of Satoshi over a permissionless, self-custodial wallet like Phoenix or Breez.The requirement of Phoenix to get a first time payment of 10,000 satoshi is a barrier to be acknowledged, however a person who does not have the funds to receive 10,000 satoshi will suffer from the loss of the same amount in a custodial wallet even more.
This is a viewpoint editorial by Anita Posch, the founder of Bitcoin For Fairness who has circumnavigated the world to learn how the internationally unbanked can gain from sovereign money.In my work as a Bitcoin teacher, I help interested individuals to take their primary steps into the space and acquire an understanding of why Bitcoin is essential for them personally and for the world at large. I likewise assist Bitcoin neighborhood contractors to end up being educators and share their knowledge with their peers. My focus pushes financial sovereignty, which can only be attained by holding bitcoin in self custody and utilizing additional tools to reach a good level of privacy.To discover out if it is time to onboard individuals onto a non-custodial Lightning wallet, even in difficult settings, I set out to do a Lightning wallet test in rural Zimbabwe with low and erratic internet connection on mobile data. Im not discussing Bitcoin on-chain wallets: There is really no need at all to utilize a custodial Bitcoin wallet. Im discussing Lightning wallets here, non-custodial ones.The Resistance To Change A HabitOver and over, I hear and read statements saying that newbies require hassle-free, user friendly tools, otherwise they would be overwhelmed and wont use Bitcoin. I believe this is wrong. Individuals who are being onboarded onto custodial services are more difficult to encourage to step up their game towards monetary sovereignty and start using non-custodial tools. There is a huge resistance to alter habits. If an individual begins utilizing a custodial wallet, they extremely, extremely frequently think that they are using Bitcoin already. They will inform you that they never ever faced any issues which they, therefore, do not see a need to alter their setup.As a Bitcoin educator, it is my first responsibility to teach people about self custody, why it is essential and to make them aware of the dangers they are taking. They need to understand the difference between custodial and non-custodial services. Only then do I present different tools and make them knowledgeable about the advantages and disadvantages of each one. Later on, they require to decide on their own which path they want to take. That is the only way that people will not consider me responsible for any losses they might incur and its the only method that they will comprehend that Bitcoin is all about ownership. If youre utilizing a custodial service, youre not economically sovereign. Youre a pre-coiner, with one foot still in the old world and you can be rug plucked whenever. I believe many individuals have already ignored Mt. Gox and even FTX. Quick cash, fast access to (an incorrect belief that youre actually using) bitcoin, quick loss.When we set out to reveal our friends how to utilize Bitcoin in the very first location, why do we rush the onboarding by using convenient tools? Why not take a little bit more time and do some foundation beforehand. It is nearly the exact same effort for an educator to present a custodial wallet in contrast to a non-custodial wallet. I think showing a custodial wallet initially is not even done for the convenience of the novice, it is rather done for the benefit of the teacher. More benefit, less description needed. Thats short sighted.Im convinced that everyone who is using Bitcoin today will need to change wallets and services in the future. Advancement is quickly; I estimate that Ive been utilizing around 15 various wallets in my Bitcoin journey so far. More to come. Individuals require to understand this, too. It is not sensible to expect that youll be utilizing the exact same wallet now and for the next 20 years, like you may make with your checking account (if you have one). I feel a big discomfort when people are rushed into utilizing custodial wallets, getting a few satoshis and then they are dispatched, all for the sake of quick adoption. I did it as soon as, too. I assisted someone set up Wallet of Satoshi and I regretted it later. Up till now, I recommended utilizing Blue Wallet on the BFF Bitcoin flyer, mainly due to the fact that of its ease of use and the possibility to have a Bitcoin and Lightning wallet in one app. I was mindful of the disadvantage, the custodial Lightning wallet, however I believed that non-custodial Lightning node wallets like Breez or Phoenix would not work reliably in areas with slow or bad internet connectivity.Goal: Identifying A Non-Custodial Lightning Wallet That Works In Areas With Low Internet SpeedI have been asking myself over the last number of months if it wouldnt be better to advise a non-custodial Lightning wallet. I was unsure, however, if Phoenix or Breez would operate in a setting with bad web connection. Thats why I set out to do a test in the area of Great Zimbabwe, about 300 kilometers south of the Zimbabwean capital of Harare. I wrote a separate article about the remarkable historic importance of Great Zimbabwe.Test SettingThe mobile internet speed at the time of testing in February 2023: I hadnt checked it, however I felt that Android was dealing with the low web speed much better than iOS. At the location where I tested, I had 3G on an iPhone and H+ on an Android gadget. Now that Im composing this short article, I found out and researched the difference that H+ delivers much higher speeds than regular 3G. I did 2 tests, one at Lake Mutirikwi and one in Great Zimbabwe. I revealed on Twitter that I was going to send out bitcoin to the very first 3 individuals who sent me an invoice.I did the very first number of tests at the dam of Lake Mutirikwi. I tested Breez, Zeus and Blue Wallet on an iPhone and Phoenix and Zap on an Android gadget. The following day, I did some more tests.Reviewing Lightning WalletsMachankura 8333Machankura 8333 is a service that allows users to receive and send bitcoin through Lightning without a web connection. Millions of individuals on the African continent are using feature phones. Machankura is utilizing an innovation called USSD code, much like the mobile cash service providers M-Pesa or EcoCash do. USSD stands for unstructured supplemental service data. You dial a code on a menu and the phone opens, which you browse through by typing numbers. Ive utilized Machankura to get and send out Lightning bitcoin in Zambia. Its crucial to keep in mind that Machankura 8333 is a custodial service and brand-new. Since of its dependency on approval from centralized mobile network providers, its adoption is unsure. Machankura is not readily available in Zimbabwe and, for that reason, not a part of this test.Wallet Of SatoshiOne of the fastest and most convenient to use Lightning wallets is Wallet of Satoshi. Ive seen lots of people utilizing it on their phones, for example in South Africa, Ghana or Zambia. It is constantly introduced as the most hassle-free and simplest service for beginners. And it holds true: it works fantastic, even in remote locations with limited bandwidth and it is the only wallet as far as I understand that provides you a Lightning Network address (alternatively, you can use Alby and Blue Wallet). Wallet of Satoshi has big drawbacks. First: It is a custodial service. Your funds are being held by the company behind it. You require to trust it. Second: It is closed source. No one other than the wallet designers can read and modify the code, which is entirely antithetical to Bitcoin, whose distinct position comes from being decentralized and open source. For me, I keep away from Wallet of Satoshi. Thats why I didnt include it in the test.Blue WalletI really like Blue Wallet, mainly for its ease of usage and the possibility to utilize Bitcoin on-chain and through Lightning in the very same app. But it has a disadvantage: While on-chain funds are kept in a non-custodial way, so that you and only you have the seed words and are the owner of your bitcoin, the Lightning wallet is custodial. You can link it as a remote for your node if you run your own Lightning node. Blue Wallet is a terrific option, but if you have to utilize the wallets default Lightning settings, be cautious and only shop small quantities of bitcoin there. Whatever else you must move over to your self-custodied, on-chain wallet. Another advantage of Blue Wallet is that you can incorporate a Lightning address with a custodial wallet from Alby. You established an account at Alby, choose a Lightning address and import it into Blue Wallet. There you can see incoming funds and also send out them.MuunThe Muun wallet is an extremely easy to use, non-custodial Bitcoin wallet, which is typically promoted as a Lightning wallet even though all your coins are saved on chain. Unlike Blue Wallet, where Lightning and on-chain Bitcoin are represented as two wallets with two balances, Muun wallet reveals one balance. Users do not need to decide if they must do a Lightning or an on-chain payment. The wallet chooses the suitable method automatically. Why is Muun not my favorite? Because of its backup approach. The requirement for self custody is a seed expression. This is what has actually been taught over the last few years and what I believe will be the standard in the foreseeable future. When I explain self custody to individuals of my workshops or meetups, securing the seed expression is always the most vital part. Suddenly, this works differently for Muun. As long as there are real self-custodial Lightning wallet alternatives that are working with the seed phrase or a simpler backup system, I will highlight those. Breez or Phoenix.BreezThe Breez app brings a Lightning node to your smartphone. It stores your money completely self custody. You will require a Google Drive, Apple iCloud or to use a remote server to backup. Because numerous people in African nations dont satisfy these requirements, it is not possible for them to use Breez. Thats a pity due to the fact that, besides being a Lightning wallet, it serves as a Value4Value podcast player and a point-of-sale application for businesses.PhoenixLike Breez, Phoenix is a self-contained Lightning node that provides you complete access to your funds. It is non-custodial and uses a 12-word seed as backup. You can send your Lightning funds to an on-chain Bitcoin address (this is called “swap out”). The only drawback is that you need to receive a minimum of 10,000 satoshis ($2.15 at the time of composing) to initialize a new wallet. This is the minimum amount for a brand-new payment channel to be created. This requirement can be a problem for people with lower earnings. There is a bit of trust included while doing swaps and channel openings but in general it is a genuine, self-contained Lightning node that runs on your phone. You are in full control of your funds.Running Your Own Node? Zeus And ZapZeus and Zap are wallets that you can utilize as a remote for your own node. You can likewise link Blue Wallet with your node, and after that it is an excellent Lightning wallet.Im running a Lightning node on Voltage. It is not fully self hosted, I need to trust Voltage, but as a nomad, I cant run my own node at the moment. I have Zeus linked with my node on my iPhone and Zap on my Android. Thats the setup I did in my very first Lightning test in rural Zimbabwe in September 2022. Test ResultsAs mentioned above, I was under the impression that Android dealt with the low speed better than my iOS would. I checked Muun, Blue Wallet, Zeus and Breez on iOS, and Phoenix and Zap on Android.MuunI sent out one payment from Muun and had no issues.Blue WalletI had some connectivity issues, as you can see in the photo, but I was able to send and receive payments.ZeusI sent out four payments. Often, the wallet timed out since it lost connection to the node, however after re-opening the app, it worked.ZapMy Zap wallet never gotten in touch with my node.BreezThis was sadly not working. The procedure of packing the app started, however after a while I stopped because it never finished loading. It is a wonderful app and the channel development needs just a minimum quantity of 2,000 sats (compared to 10,000 with Phoenix), so in locations with excellent web connection I totally advise it.PhoenixI sent out and got several payments effectively without any problems.Wallet OverviewLightning WalletFundsCustodyBackupCreates A Lightning Address To Receive Funds?Send To A Lightning Address?Receive To A BTC Address/BTC-To-Lightning Swap In?Send To BTC Address/Lightning-To-BTC Swap Out?DownsidesUpsidesBlue WalletOn chain/off chain, different walletsLightning custodial, you can link your own nodeSave the LndHUB addressNo, you can import an externally-created Lightning addressYesYesNoLightning custodialUse an external Lightning addressBreezOff chainSelf custodyiCloud, Google Drive or remote server optional encryptionNoYesYesYesDidnt deal with sluggish internetValue4Value podcast gamer, PoS includedMuunOn chainSelf custodyEmail registration, emergency situation kit as PDF, cloud backupNoNoNoYesSometimes slow when awaiting block confirmation, made complex backup. Advertises itself as a Lightning wallet, although its an on-chain wallet.Stores Lightning funds on chain. Secure.PhoenixOff chainSelf custody12-word seed on Android/12-word seed and optional iCloud backup on iOSNoYesYesYesOne must get at least 10,000 sats to open first channel and initialize the walletSelf custody Lightning wallet with seed, dealt with slow internet and has the alternative to set fees individuallyWallet Of SatoshiOff chainCustodialEmail registrationYesYesYesYesCustodial, closed source, account with email verificationCreates Lightning address, light weight appZapOn chain/off chain, reveals one balanceActs as a remote to your nodeOn your nodeYou can create a Lightning address on your nodeYesYesNoDidnt work with sluggish internetSelf custodyZeusOn chain/off chain, reveals separate balancesActs as a remote to your nodeOn your nodeYou can create a Lightning address on your nodeYesYesNoUnreliable. Works sometimes and next minute, it cant connect to node.Self custodyFeesIt is truly hard to make a charge comparison, since the performances under the hood of the wallets are different. The uncertainty of the underlying charges on the Bitcoin blockchain factor in also, due to the fact that when a channel is being opened or a swap-out to a Bitcoin address takes place, they need to be spent for too. Thats why I didnt even attempt to make a fee comparison. The possibility to own censorship-resistant money, that a person can send out globally, thats settled immediately and works permissionlessly with no deal limits, is priceless. It is currently less expensive than any other type of international payment. Just just recently, somebody sent me $2,500 from his bank account in another nation to mine. I now have $2,466 in my account. The cost on his side was $20 on top of the $2,500. Additionally, there was a $4.14 cost on my side. That suggests in between, someone (and we have no hint who) took $30. He paid $2,520, I have $2,466 in my account– we paid $54 in fees. And yet the money is not even exchanged to euros.ConclusionIn just 10 minutes (messaging on Twitter included), I had sent and gotten bitcoin in Zimbabwe from several countries, like Benin, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Germany, the U.K. and Italy, all that without the requirement of showing an ID or getting authorization from anyone and without any transaction limits and very low charges. This is what financial sovereignty and addition is all about.Whats the finest service for you? The very best solution is the one that fits your individual requirements best. As you can see in the above table, every wallet has different features, along with up- and disadvantages. It is on you to determine your possibilities and requirements and then to discover the optimal option for those. For new users, Phoenix and Breez are excellent options. Given the truth that I desired to find the finest wallet working in areas with weak web connectivity, I recommend Phoenix. It is a non-custodial wallet, easy to utilize and swap-outs to the Bitcoin blockchain are free (other than for the mining costs) and it works with a seed backup. The only disadvantage is that you need to get at least 10,000 satoshis ($2.15 at the time of writing) as a very first payment to initialize a new wallet. This requirement can be an issue for people with really low incomes.I hear over and over again that Wallet of Satoshi is a terrific wallet to begin with, because its usage is basic and hassle-free. The majority of the invoices I got throughout my test were really sent from Wallet of Satoshi. This freaks me out. The typical suggestion to use only a little amount of funds, because of the custodianship, can not be used to lower-income users. A loss of $2 can be substantial for them. I dont see any factor anymore to advise a closed-source, custodial wallet like Wallet of Satoshi over a permissionless, self-custodial wallet like Phoenix or Breez.The requirement of Phoenix to receive a very first time payment of 10,000 satoshi is a barrier to be acknowledged, but an individual who does not have the funds to receive 10,000 satoshi will struggle with the loss of the exact same quantity in a custodial wallet even more. As I stated above, it is every individuals own decision which path to take, but I find it important that people comprehend the threats of using custodial wallets at this early stage.Non-custodial Lightning wallets may be a little less convenient to utilize and come with a preliminary cost when setting up the channels, however you remain in complete control over your own funds. You are financially sovereign. In addition, I am optimistic that Bitcoin business owners and designers will find solutions to make self custody much more convenient and lower the barrier of entry in the coming years.This is a visitor post by Anita Posch. Opinions expressed are completely their own and do not always show those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.